I read a Tweet recently that said: “Have you felt perpetually guilty every day of your life since you were 6, or are you normal?”
Never have I felt so seen.
I am a goal-setting, anxiety-having, Type-A, perfectionist. It’s something that was bred into me and carefully cultivated over too many decades to deny. It’s part of my DNA. Or, is it?
This free audiobook was suggested to me by Audible (am I so transparent??) and so I gave it a go.
Dr Rebecca Ray is an Aussie psychologist who shares her strategies and suggestions for “Ditching ‘Perfectionism’ for ‘Good Enough’, and Succeed More” in this highly-consumable 4 hour audiobook. It touches on themes like: not being a slave to your goals, embracing the unexpected path, setting yourself reasonable expectations, not letting ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’, and forgiving yourself for your past errors.
It’s certainly no substitute for therapy, but perhaps a worthy listen if it’s been a while since your last appointment, or if you are just beginning your journey in this space of self discovery. For me, it was a basic but timely reminder of the need to be kind to myself. The ‘book’ is delivered in short, episodic chapters, like little podcasts, and so easy to listen to while I was out walking the dog or weeding (ever the multi-tasker…).
I sometimes set myself the unachievable challenge of having a “Perfect Week”: walk at least 10,000 steps every day, walk my dogs every day, go for a run 4 days and pilates on the other 3, etc etc etc. I recognise this is not the healthiest. I started this book as I was embarking on another doomed attempt for a “Perfect Week”, and Dr Ray provided a timely reminder to just.. chill out a bit with the constant self-flagellating.
I do have a few critiques of the advice provided, chiefly, the quasi-career advice. On two occasions, Dr Ray shares anecdotes from her personal and professional life about people taking significant risks in their careers, to follow their dreams, and in both cases it worked out. That’s lovely, and I’m happy for those people. But I do worry about people taking risky financial leaps to “follow their dreams” without sufficient safety nets and it felt a little reckless for her to share these stories without requisite warnings.
Also, she calls her listener ‘Lovely One’ throughout and… ick. Did not like.
But, that aside, it achieved what it set out to achieve, so I’ll give 3 self-deprecating jokes out of 5 overall.